I’ve given it some thought, and I’d like a unicorn. Any size or age will do.
It’s that time of year when someone is bound to ask me what I’d like for a gift. And if I can’t come up with a clear, concrete example of something I’d like, I could end up with some tacky knick knack.
So, I’d like a unicorn.
Until this moment, you’d probably never considered getting me a gift. But now that the idea of sending me the prettiest, best-behaved unicorn in North America has taken root in your mind, well, why not?
In return, I will send you something just as extraordinary: a thank-you note. They’re hard to come by these days. But when someone sends me a gift, I write a thank-you note. With a pen.
“Dear Friend,” I will write to you, on a real note card. My cursive will be sloppy but distinctly mine. Like a snowflake but not as beautiful.
“Thank you for your thoughtful, generous gift of a unicorn. You didn’t have to do that! I have named her Violet Rose, and she is the best gift ever. I have decided to let Violet Rose sleep inside, and I think she’s really happy to be here with me. When we go to the park, everyone compliments us on Violet Rose’s sparkly mane. Sincerely, me.”
And that’s how you write a thank-you note. I wish more people would do it. I wish every child would learn to do it.
If you’re not in the habit, give it a try. If you see someone every day and she hands you a gift, you don’t have to mail her a thank-you note, although it wouldn’t hurt. But when Great-Aunt Gertrude in Alaska takes the time to mail your son or daughter a gift, why not seize the opportunity to teach your child a new social skill? Take a few minutes to let your aunt know that the gift arrived and to express your gratitude. Imagine Aunt Gert’s joy when she sorts through a stack of bills and junk mail and finds that little envelope with your return address in childishly printed letters.
Add thank-you notes to your shopping list right now. When you’re stocking up on gift wrap and egg nog in the coming weeks, grab a box. They can be the dollar-store variety. What matters is the personal sentiment that you will scribble inside. In these days of hastily-sent text messages and thoughtless emojis, a handwritten note is about as rare as a unicorn. Maybe more so. Don’t forget the stamps.